Saturday, September 2, 2017

Coral Eyelet And Not Chambray

Earlier this year I bought some fun eyelet knit from Style Maker Fabrics (at the moment there is a small piece left for sale, here) without any real plans for it, other than thinking I'd use it for myself. It's a polyester nylon spandex blend, which isn't my favorite, but I loved the eyelet enough to give it a shot anyway! Eventually, I decided on a shirt:

  I made a full-circle peplum with the seam situated below my natural waist, and a dip to one side. (I sewed a pretty decent point in it too- I'm disappointed that it was just barely out of the frame in the one photo I got of the dip!)

  I made 3/4 length sleeves and ruched them with elastic:

  And I echoed the dip slightly at the neckline with another bit of ruching:

  I took a small chunk out of the upper back section at the waist seam, then added it back to the lower edge of the peplum, and it really helped reduce the wrinkles back there! I lettuce-edged the sleeves and hem:

  I also sewed a white tank to go underneath, using the last of my white swim lining. But of course I didn't get any photos!

  Then, I spent a couple of days drafting a skirt block, making it a-line, muslin-ing it, and adding a tulip-style flounce and pockets. I wanted to sew it up in chambray, but the only piece I had was too small, so I used a slightly larger piece of lightweight denim, wrong side out. Unfortunately, the denim was still too small for the flounce, so I went with an overlapping ruffle instead, and I'm not entirely happy with it. I like the overlap, but flounces are much more graceful than ruffles!

  I made a mistake when drafting the skirt block though. I drafted it at the wrong time of month and it's too big the rest of the time, and sits quite a bit lower than I'd intended. Not a problem I'd considered! Also, I wish I'd added half as much width for the a-line flare.

  At least it has pockets?

  I used an invisible zipper in the back, and a hook and eye on the waistband:

  I've worn the skirt pretty frequently in spite of its issues, but early on I forgot that the inside is denim, and dark, and washed a load of laundry- including the coral shirt- with it, and it bled on them. So my pretty coral shirt has darker spots all over it now that I just can't seem to get all of the way out. =( I do have a bit more of the coral- maybe I can squeeze a different shirt out of that!

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Florals and Solids

Here's another set of clothes I made in the spring- coordinating dresses for these four little girls!

  The floral is a rayon spandex from Sincerely Rylee... I think I bought it last year? 

All of the solids are from Girl Charlee... aqua, coral, peach, and navy

  I decided to go for a really simple silhouette on these, with a basic short-sleeved bodice and gathered rectangular skirt. I had some issues with the gathering, but then I usually do on knit! And I'm sure it didn't help that I was trying to stabilize it with clear elastic. I found I had to stretch the elastic the tiniest little bit as I serged it in, or the bodice seam would still wave... but I ended up overstretching it in a few places, which caused puckering.

  I had thought the floral was opaque enough by itself, but once I'd finished all four dresses it was pretty obviously NOT, so I ended up sewing four simple slips from some swim knit lining fabric, which I hemmed with stretch lace, and after a failed attempt at trimming the necklines and armscyes with lace trim, finished with a shell hem like this one using a machine blind stitch. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of the slips.

  Since this was a pretty basic design, I used Jalie 2805 and cropped it just above the waist, then added the skirt- I had to grade the pattern down for Foof, but the other girls all fit in the size range now. I did notice that while the grading looks perfectly even, the amount of ease goes up and down as the sizes go up. And the edges aren't quite trued, so things form points or dips occasionally. I still think Jalie 2805 is a better option than a lot of Indie patterns, but it could definitely be improved on!

  I hemmed the sleeves and skirt with lettuce edging- I really love the way the lettuce-edging looks in this rayon knit!

  I wasn't sure about the navy at first- it's much less of a cheerful spring color than the others, but I really love how it worked in the end!

  This is the only photo I got of any of the dress backs, but they are just as basic as the fronts!

  These dresses have been worn quite a lot over the summer! I had plans to make more with the same silhouette but I'm quite behind on my sewing list (I still have 5 summer birthday gifts to make!) so that hasn't happened yet.

  I'll be back at some point with this outfit I sewed for myself in May! (Hopefully it will be less than  a month this time.) ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, July 28, 2017

Crochet Collar

  I've rarely use Pinterest anymore, but earlier this year, I checked it and found that my sister-in-love had pinned a crocheted collar that I just loved.

  I'm not big on crocheting- I feel like I never got the hang of keeping my tension even and I can't do it fast enough to finish much before I lose focus and move on to other things- but the pattern was free, and I already had some pretty yarn (bought for this hat, even though I just don't wear hats), so I figured I'd give it a shot!

  It's been a while, but if I'm remembering right I used a 4mm hook, light worsted weight yarn (a soft acrylic one from Hobby Lobby whose brand I can't remember and whose label I lost), and started with a chain of 67.

  I was surprised at how quickly this worked up! It only took a couple of evenings, which means I actually finished it! And it's adorable, clearly!

  For the closure, I used a small button that I bought at JoAnn's a few years back. It hasn't been worn much, because it doesn't seem right for summer, and Foof won't keep it on for any length of time, but IF I can find it (her sisters decided it was a toy and it's a bit lost a the moment) I want to sew this collar onto a dress for this winter.

  I love the way this turned out! I didn't have any issues with the pattern... it all made sense as written. The only change I might make would be crocheting back over the button loop to strengthen it, or knotting it more firmly to the collar.


  At some point here I'll be back with some summer dresses I made for the girls... but first I have to edit the photos and I've been procrastinating on that step pretty frequently, so it may be a while. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Simple Knit Shirts

  Earlier this year, after another occasion in which I sewed a shirt only to find that it was way too tight, I decided it was time to update my knit shirt block. I tried to keep the shape of the curves the same, and added enough width so that it would have no negative ease. Then I tested it out with some heathered grey 12oz cotton Lycra knit from Nick Of Time Textiles.

  I kept it pretty basic with half-length sleeves and plain twin-needled hems.

  While the new pattern was a huge improvement over the original, in that I could actually fit into it, a little tweaking seemed like it wouldn't hurt!

  But first, I decided to relieve this shirt of its extreme plainness with some freezer-paper stenciling.

  I hand-drew the letters, then scanned them into my computer and traced them with the Silhouette software, then cut them from freezer paper with the Silhouette. Once I had it ironed on to the shirt, I painted a base layer of dark blue acrylic paint mixed with textile medium, then painted tiny roses and buds all over in pink with some dark green leaves, and finally removed the stencil and heat-set the paint with my iron. I really love the results!

  I had tested the idea out with just a heart on a scrap of knit, and then didn't want to waste the heart, so I cut it out and added some Heat'n Bond UltraHold to it, and ironed it to the back shoulder.

   Unfortunately it came off in the first wash and disappeared, so I wish I'd sewn it on instead. But it was cute for a day!

  For version two I changed a few of the curves, brought the shoulders in a bit, and added some width to the back of the shirt at the hip line, and a tiny bit to the front at the bust line.

  I sewed version two in brown 12oz cotton Lycra knit, also from Nick of Time Textiles.

  This was also an improvement! Although there were still a lot of things that weren't quite right.

  I added a lot of vinyl to make this one interesting! The lettering was once again hand-drawn, then scanned, tweaked in Illustrator, and cut with my Silhouette. The swirls were slightly modified from some free ones I found on The Noun Project, and the butterflies were modified (using the offset tool) from a free one I downloaded from the Silhouette Store years ago.

  I used Siser EasyWeed in Tiffany Blue and Turquoise for this. In some lighting situations the colors work together perfectly, and in others they just don't.

  I didn't realize until it was too late that the vinyl I'd bought wasn't actually a full 12" wide, and I had the pieces laid out to just within 12", so a couple of pieces have straight edges where the blade went off the edge of the vinyl.

  I didn't do a lot of planning as to where the vinyl would go, and I was in a bit of a rush to get it all applied, so there are quite a few spots where it doesn't look quite as balanced as it could.

  I still like it though.

  Rushing is also why I missed that swirl above the lettering until it was already ironed on... that wasn't supposed to be there!

  The vinyl hasn't stuck to this shirt as well as I'd hoped it would, and I ironed just as long as usual in spite of my hurry, so I think it might have something to do with the fabric thickness- or possibly my iron isn't heating up as well as it used to.

  On to version 3! In addition to a few small tweaks to get the side seams more balanced, I did a swayback adjustment on this one, thinking it would help with the lower back wrinkles. Now I suspect that having a swayback isn't the main cause of them, because it didn't help!

  I might need to raise the back waist height? Or add width to the upper hip area? I really don't know. The adjustment ended up causing other issues, because it changed the shoulder slope in the back and made it too square for me.

  In the end, version 3 was a downgrade.

  I do prefer the shape of the hem on this one though. I used more 12 oz cotton Lycra knit for this one- I used the same weight and stretch of knit for all three so it wouldn't skew the fit.

  I kept the decoration pretty simple on this one and just sewed some buttons on by machine around the neckline. It gives it a fun nautical sort of look!

  My husband finds it absolutely hilarious to push my buttons though.

    I don't need any more basic shirts, so I've mostly reverted back to version 2 to make a couple of more interesting things, and will hopefully return to this block and get it fitted properly at some point in the future, provided I haven't changed shape again! I have a feeling that the answer is 'darts' but I really don't want that to be the answer because I dislike the way darts look on knit shirts.

  If you've got any fitting suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them! I'm clearly still a beginner in this department, and need all of the help I can get!

Thanks for stopping by,